American Airlines and US Airways report trans-Atlantic traffic in Jan-2010
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Finnair accelerates capacity growth, led by long haul; seeks cost efficiency through fleet & labour
In 2016 Finnair accelerated its rate of capacity growth after a modest return to expansion in 2015, following cuts in 2014. It also experienced a fall in unit revenue (as did most European airlines), most notably in the regions of highest capacity growth, i.e. the long haul markets North America and Asia.
Asia is Finnair's most important long haul market (Japan and China are its two biggest markets by ASKs) and its ranking by seats on routes between European and NE/SE Asia is disproportionate. It has ambitious growth plans in the region and will increase frequencies to Tokyo and Hong Kong this summer. Its long haul network, which will also extend to San Francisco this summer and Goa next winter, is largely founded on connecting traffic via its Helsinki hub.
Finnair's return to capacity growth has coincided with a return to profit, but lower fuel prices were the main driver of its bottom line improvement. Its profit margins remain slim and, beyond the vagaries of fuel price benefits, Finnair aims for more sustainable unit cost cuts. Fleet strategy and labour productivity form a two pronged attack on its cost base.
American Airlines and Norwegian forge new partnerships for global reach: CAPA Americas Summit
American Airlines' recent pursuit of China Southern, and Norwegian’s partnership discussions with Ryanair, reflect the multiple changing dynamics that airlines operating across all business models must face as they maximise network connectivity to remain relevant and competitive. American had to drift outside oneworld to gain an important foothold in China, while Norwegian stresses that traditional airline partnership structures are not viable for its business model.
But despite American’s attention grabbing decision to take a small equity stake in China Southern, the agreement appears to be a one off event. American has no plans to join rival Delta in pursuing stakes in airlines around the world to attain network longevity. American's position is that its current and prospective joint venture agreements provide anchors in the most important global regions.
For Norwegian, a potential tie up with other low cost airlines allows the company to offer network breadth to the pool of passengers it intends to stimulate with new narrowbody service to the US, but without the frills and expense inherent in more complex airline partnerships.